Stabbing death leads to murder plea, up to 40 years in prison |

Stabbing death leads to murder plea, up to 40 years in prison

Matthew James Haley plead guilty to second degree murder. He stabbed Jordan Gausman to death after pounding Gausman during a fight outside Leadville's Silver Dollar Saloon, on May 2, 2106.
Lake County Sheriff’s Office |

LEADVILLE — A stabbing death outside a popular saloon could land the assailant in prison past his 70th birthday.

Last May, Matthew James Haley, 30, pleaded guilty Tuesday to second degree murder for stabbing Jordan Gausman to death outside Leadville’s Silver Dollar Saloon.

Gausman, 31, and Haley were talking the bar when Haley became angry with Gausman, authorities said.

Among other things, the two men talked about having served in the military.

While Haley was paying for his beer, he pushed and struck Gausman on his chest and head and “invited” him outside the bar. Gausman paid his tab shortly after, and he and a friend left the bar.

Moments later, Haley attacked Gausman without warning in front of the bar, punching him repeatedly in the face, knocking him to the ground and kicking him while he was down.

Gausman tried to stand up, witnesses said, but Haley held him. Haley pulled a knife from a leg sheath and stabbed Gausman on his left side and causing a fatal injury.

Haley fled the scene, setting off an intense manhunt.

Gausman was rushed to St. Vincent Hospital in Leadville, then airlifted to St. Anthony’s Hospital, where he died shortly after his arrival. Haley turned himself in to the Conejos County Sheriff’s Office on May 7, 2016.

“Today’s plea of guilty is a step towards closure and part of the community grieving for the loss of Jordan Gausman, who was a friend of our small Leadville community,” said Bruce Brown, District Attorney.

Haley will be sentenced at 8:30 a.m., June 28, by Judge Mark Thompson.

Haley will also be sentenced for his part in helping another inmate in a January escape attempt.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or

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